Which football club’s finances need a kick-start?

Swansea and Southampton top premier league of invoice payment!

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As this year’s football season reaches an end, here at CreditHQ we thought we’d take a look at how good the top football clubs are at performing where it matters – in the payments department!

Small businesses wait on average, 72 days for payment of invoices, and our analysis last year showed the average overdue invoice to a small business was worth a whopping £6,142. 

The Payment Premier League was compiled by combining figures for payment performance and credit risk.

“If a small business wins a contract with their local football team then it is easy to let the heart rule the head, and just go ahead with the work regardless – people love the idea of working for the team they support,” said Martin Campbell. “But our analysis shows that just because a team is good on the pitch, it doesn’t necessarily follow that they will be as strong when it comes to paying invoices on time.”

“Winning a major contract with any sizeable local company is a big deal for a small business, but few would think to run a credit check. Yet the average time for a small business to be paid is 72 days, a period of time which could be seriously problematic for a small business if the figures involved were big enough.”

Premier Payment league infographic

Sunderland and Crystal Palace were the worst performers on our payment premier league, so if you’re thinking of doing business with either of these teams, follow these simple tips to ensure you’re taking the right precautions to ensure you stay on top of your business cash-flow:

  • Stay on top of your invoice process to get invoices out on time.
  • Follow up before the invoices are due.
  • Chase invoices when due and always charge interest on overdue invoices (or issue a letter of intent).
  • Review payment terms for this company, including payment up front if you are really worried about the impact of late payment.
  • For major concerns about a customer’s financial health, don’t be afraid to walk away from a deal.

Check out who you’re doing business with at www.credithq.co.uk

We’ve been nominated for a Benzinga Award!

Ormsby Street have been chosen as a finalist for this year’s Benzinga Awards – in the ‘leveling the playing field’ category

bzawards-finalists-2016-official

The Benzinga Awards (BZ), is a competition to showcase the companies with the most impressive technology, who are paving the future in financial services and capital markets.

Last year’s winners include HedgecoVest who were the overall winner, with Estimize taking first place for best startup.

If you’d like to join in the celebrations in New York on May 24th, click here for full information and details of how to grab your ticket.

Good luck to all the other finalists!

An Egg-cellent offer this Easter week!

The long weekend might be over, but we’re extending our Easter special offer – Access CreditHQ FREE for one month!

Now we’ve hit the second quarter of the year, it’s a great chance to reflect on the first few months of the year and review the businesses with whom you’re trading.

Are your suppliers paying you on time? Might it be time to increase or reduce the amount of credit you’re extending to a particular business? Has your business’ credit and payment score improved and you’d like to show potential customers this?

CreditHQ can help improve your cash-flow and credit management, and ensure you’re working with the companies that are best for your business. If you know you want to work with a particular business but know in advance that they’re not likely to pay you until 45 days, you can plan accordingly and make sure you’ve got enough cash in the meantime for other purposes.

So this Easter, we’re offering you access to CreditHQ’s Standard subscription free of charge for one month! Simply enter the code EASTERHQ16 in the voucher code box*.

You’ll need to enter your card details, but don’t worry –  we won’t charge you a penny for 30 days (and if you find you’re not using CreditHQ, simply cancel anytime within the first month to avoid the £25 monthly subscription fee).

So hop to www.credithq.co.uk and start checking out the best businesses you should be working with!

*voucher code valid until 30 April.

May the force be with your small business this week!

star wars

“a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”

The seventh Star Wars film – The Force Awakens is out tomorrow (in case you hadn’t heard!) …

Even the massive franchise that is Star Wars started out small, the original movie took $11 million to make in 1977 (the equivalent of $40 million in today’s money), but made $786 million worldwide at the box office. In contrast, the production budget for the new film is $200 million!

Now, the combined box office revenue of all the Star Wars films is $4.38 billion. Star Wars also holds a Guinness World Records title for the “Most successful film merchandising franchise.”
In 2012, the total value of the Star Wars franchise was estimated at USD $30.7 billion, including box-office receipts as well as profits from their video games and DVD sales (source: wikipedia).

So, out of something small, big things can happen

The original Star Wars story was even rejected in its early concept stages, so don’t ever give up testing new ideas and concepts in your small business and refining your product or services – you never know, the force may be with you 🙂

Instead of using the force to credit check your customers, suppliers and any companies that you do business with, use CreditHQ! If Luke’s family had credit checked the Jawas, maybe they would have got a better deal on C3PO & R2D2!

And for your chance to win a kindle fire, a printer and some other small business goodie – check out how to win our CreditHQ Christmas Gift Box!

What is a quick liquidity ratio and why should I care?

It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed by all the jargon and formulas when people start talking about business finances, annual reports and financial ratios, but there are some key numbers that are relatively easy to work out and which can help small businesses make informed decisions.

One of these is the “Quick Ratio” which looks at the ability of a company to pay off its current liabilities when they become due with their current assets – i.e. can they pay their bills with funds they can get their hands on easily.

Typically, something is classed a current asset if it can be turned into cash in fewer than 90 days.

The formula for the ratio looks like this:

Cash + short term investments that can be cashed in + current money owed to them

————————————————————————————————————————

current liabilities

This is classed as a ‘liquidity ratio’ because it shows how much liquid cash a business has or can get easily.

So that’s how you calculate it, but what does it mean?

Usually, the aim for this ratio is for it to be around 1, meaning current assets and current liabilities are about the same.

Any higher than this and the company can meet its short-term liabilities with its assets (which is good), although they might have too much cash sitting around (which means it isn’t being used to fund business growth or improvement) or they might have a problem collecting money owed to them.

Any lower than this and they can’t meet their short-term liabilities and so if these all became due the company would struggle to pay them, and subsequently struggle to pay you.

That’s all nice and straightforward, but just to make things a little confusing, whether the ratio is good or bad also relies a little on the industry that the company is in.

Some industries like retail have low ratios because they negotiate favourable credit terms and so their current liabilities might be higher compared to their assets (in their 2011 accounts, Tesco had a ratio of 0.29 and Wal-Mart 0.2), whereas other industries where speedy growth is key keep liquid assets high so that they can expand quickly (in their 2011 annual reports McDonalds had a ratio of 1.05 and Burger King 1.3)

CreditHQ provides information on assets and liabilities so you can take a look at some of the companies you trade with and see what their Quick Ratio is like, and you can use this alongside the credit and payment indicators to make informed decisions on how to trade with these companies.

Liquidity - water representing finances

3 lessons I’ve learnt from 20 years in Small Business

lessons

It would be easy to think – amid today’s hype about digital products and Software as a Service’s disruption of so many industries by startups – that the business world has changed a lot over the 20 years that have elapsed since I penned my first proposal in response to the tentative phone call: “We’ve heard about the world wide web and we think we need one, can you help?” With so much ink spilled over what’s changed over those two decades, I’m surprised at how often I’m reminded of how much has stayed the same. Over my time as a small business leader, there have been three lessons which I learned early, but then had to learn again and again. I set them out here to remind you too.

Lesson 1: The customer isn’t buying your product or service. In startup circles it’s very fashionable to talk about how the customer is paying to solve a problem, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. There are so many ways a customer could solve a given problem, that when they choose to do so by buying your solution, it’s crucial to understand why. It’s almost certain that your product or service wasn’t the only option, so what made them buy from you? Was it the safety and security they get from your reputation, or was it the reputation for innovation that they get from buying “the next big thing”? Are they really buying the product? Or are they trialling it for one of their departments should the rest of the organisation go a different way? Getting to the heart of why customers buy from you is absolutely essential for effective selling.

Lesson 2: You’re not selling your product or service. Depending on how you pitch and deliver your product, you might be selling the promise of repeating the experience that another customer had, or you might be selling something that you are confident you can deliver but that’s not 100 per cent rock solid yet. Or maybe you’re selling the value that you built on the foundations provided by someone else. Whichever it is, your business success depends on understanding how your view matches (or doesn’t match) your customers’, and how your business really works.

Lesson 3: Business relationships are complicated. It’s easy as a small business to work simply: we provide a service, you buy a service, the service gets delivered, the bill gets paid. If you’re selling buns in a market, you might just have a business which is that simple (though it’s not as simple as it sounds!), but if you’re selling to businesses, then it’s more likely that your customer needs your product for a number of reasons, and has various individuals with different political outlooks and different objectives. Your own team will also have various strengths, weaknesses and disagreements about how best to deliver, though various factors can change, like the economy, circumstances and requirements from your relationships. On top of this, your customer’s finance department may seem to be working to some sort of 19th century timetable, where they have until next harvest to pay your bill!

So how do you learn the lessons?

Clear brands, product descriptions and contracts are hard work to create, but worth every penny because your customers can understand you better.

Clear internal procedures and industry standard roles help your team to move fast and do the right thing even when the unexpected happens (come on – you know it will!).

Finally, trust that everything’s going to be OK, and then make sure that it is – monitor your customers’ credit scores and payment performances and don’t accept any excuses for late payment!

by Martin Campbell

What should you do with credit data on your customers?

You know that your customer has a good credit rating but a poor payment performance.  What should you do?

You can see that your potential new customer has a terrible credit rating and pays their bills 30 days late.  What should you do?

These are questions businesses should be asking themselves, but many don’t ask these questions because a) they don’t know the information in the first place, and b) they wouldn’t know what to do about it even if they did know.

We understand that completely.  Not everyone is an accountant or a financial whizkid.  That’s why we introduced our Insight Engine into CreditHQ.

InsightText 

It can take the financial data of a company and point out things that your business can consider doing when trading with this company.  It could be offering more credit or extending payment terms.  It could be reducing credit and reviewing your cashflow.  It all depends upon the circumstances of the company concerned and your relationship with them.

Knowing this allows you to make informed decisions and take control of your business, and reduce the impact of negative businesses that you might come in contact with.

So if you need some guidance on how to reduce financial risk in your business or how to improve your cashflow take a look at CreditHQ and start to understand the factors that can have a big impact upon your business.